Tasmanian Wine Producers Raise a Glass to Climate Change

Written by Katy Rohl
With climate change becoming ever more prevalent within Australia, the wine industry is steadily falling victim to its diverse effects. With predictions forecasting significant changes to the Australian climate, wine makers are migrating south to seek cooler climates which favour the production of sparkling and pinot noir wines. Even with grape growers beginning to take steps toward ‘green’ farming, in a bid to save their wilting crop, global warming is settling in with no remorse for wineries across the country.
As the effects of global warming progress so too do the changes to our environment. One of the most prevalent changes is the rise in temperature. Studies carried out by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), are predicting that temperatures will rise between 0.3 and 1.7 degrees Celsius by 2030. A brochure produced by the Wine Innovation Cluster (WIC) mentioned that global warming is causing less winter rainfall and more CO2, both of these abnormalities have and will continue to severely deplete the quality of the crop.  

Although global warming is an incredibly daunting phenomenon, as the Tasmanian climate change office stated, “If climate change has an upside, it can be found in the rapidly expanding Tasmanian wine industry.” Because of the warmer conditions in Australia, much of the wine growing and production is being relocated to the cooler temperatures of Tasmania. Studies performed by the Tasmania climate change office have revealed that wine production in Tasmania is increasing by approximately 10% each year. Local Tasmanian grower Fred Peacock made the following statement concerning the conditions that are ideal for the grapes; “they need a certain degree of chill in the winter. They need to spend so many hundred hours below a fairly low temperature, five or six degrees Celsius.”
With the promise of ideal crop growing conditions, large producers from the South of Australia are making the move to Tasmania to ensure that the quality of their product remains at a high standard. One company who have seen the promise that Tasmania can offer is Brown Brothers wineries who have relocated to the Tamar Ridge winery. As Brown Brothers CEO Ross Brown explains “basically we are in the coolest part of Victoria (for wine) and that won’t be cool enough to produce some of our main wines – for sparkling and pinot noir.” This influx of large scale wineries to Tasmania will do wonders for the Tasmanian wine industry.
Global warming has the devastating possibility of affecting masses of people globally by 2030. However in 2014 wine producers across Australia are beginning to feel the binding grip of a combination of rising temperatures, increases in CO2 levels and reduced winter rainfall. Despite this decidedly bleak outlook for the Australian wine industry, growers have turned to Tasmania to lend a hand as climate change heats up.

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